Key Chant (Fun Way to Teach Key Signature)

Looking for a FUN way to teach key signature? We all know that kids (and adults) remember things better when they are set to music – or rhythm.  The key chant is just that – key signature information set to a basic chant rhythm.

Yes, the Key Chant is ROTE teaching.  Just because they can say it doesn’t mean they understand it.  But if you realize that and you teach them key signature fully in your regular lessons, this is an excellent way to help them recall the important factors they need to know for each key signature.

If you teach key signature chant in a fun way – as a beginning band GAME – and get in there with them and say (or shout) it with a little bit of ‘cool’ they will love it.

Key Chant
Order of Sharps – F C G D A E B
Order of Flats – B E A D G C F

Key of C  No flats – No sharps
Key of F  One flat – Bb
Key of Bb  Two flats – Bb, Eb
Key of Eb  Three flats – Bb, Eb, Ab
Key of Ab Four flats – Bb, Eb, Ab, Db
Key of Db  Five flats – Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb

Key of G  One sharp – F#
Key of D  Two sharps – F#, C#
Key of A  Three sharps – F#, C#, G#
Key of E  Four sharps – F#, C#, G#, D#

Other things to consider after they get the hang of the chant:
1. When they get to a new line, let them say the key chant for that line.  So if they are about to play a line with 1 flat they will say “Key of F, one flat Bb.”
2. They can finger critical notes as they say it. So in the example above a trumpet player would finger 1st valve down as they say Bb.
3. You can add more keys as you wish.

One other thing – When teaching the order of flats, tell them it spells BEAD and Greatest Common Factor.  Sharps can be remembered with Fat Cats Go Down Allies Eating Birds.

Get your own  printable copy of the Key Chant (director copy with rhythm & student copy with just words) as well as a number of other great “Band” Chants! Or check out  the Key Signature Word Wall/flashcards here.

Related Reading:
Teaching Clarinets to “Roll to A” Isn’t Enough
Beginning Band Games – Jeopardy
The Crayon Analogy (for Band) (getting students to play with balance and control)

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